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Friday, November 1, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Angil Tarach-Ritchey

Your Intention as an Author Can Help Determine Your Publishing Choice

I find it interesting to hear about how people started doing what they do.  I would have assumed all writers/authors had some desire to put thoughts and words on paper for public viewing until I became one myself. 

 I never thought about being a writer, let alone an author, prior to my life being changed by chronic illness. I loved my career as a geriatric nurse and homecare agency owner, but everything changed when chronic illness took my life as I knew it. After a 5-year battle to be diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue, the only way I could see how I could continue helping seniors and family caregivers was to write.  I knew the effect that education had on seniors and families when they found themselves in a crisis following an unexpected illness, injury or diagnosis.  Spending time educating literally thousands of families, I could literally watch the stress lift from their faces as they learned about their health problem(s) and the resources and options that were available.  When the questions and fears that swirled in their minds were discussed and answered they had a huge sense of relief, so my articles and books are focused on providing education, information, resources and advocacy in a way that reduces stress, advocates for better treatment, living and care of the elderly and provides hope for a better future for us all as 78 million of us Baby Boomers have begun entering our senior years. 

Being an accidental author, I needed to do a lot of diligent research into publishing prior to my book.  The first question I needed answers for was the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing and what would make sense for me.  I debated back and forth for over a year and wondered why anyone would give control to a publisher who owned their work, took too much time to get the book to market, gave the author very little compensation for their work and didn’t really market the book anyway?  Of course if you are a big named author this doesn’t apply as much but for a nurse that loves old people and never even considered being an author I definitely didn’t fit in that category. 

Next I started investigating self-publishing companies and what they offered for what price, as well as their reputation and influence.  My journey and ultimate choice turned out very different than fitting in what we think of as traditional publishing or self-publishing, although I do fit into the self-publishing category.  Through a newsletter from Arielle Ford I read about the cutting edge M2eBook, which is a mini-media eBook that is created as a preview of a full book.  I was intrigued and contacted the creator, Jared Rosen from DreamSculpt Media. More than a basic publisher, Jared is a visionary of social good and helped expand my thoughts of what my book could be, including going beyond the book to be an entire advocacy project.  My experience was excellent and I learned a lot about the publishing world through Jared and his immense experience that I hadn’t learned on my own.

Even though I am a new author and baby in this field, I have determined that each author’s specific needs, intentions and goals will determine the type of publishing decisions that best meet those needs.  I cannot say one is better than the other.  I can say that knowing yourself and what you want to accomplish through writing is the most important aspect in making your publishing decisions.  Feeling comfortable and confident in your choices is essential to success in accomplishing your goals and fulfilling your intentions.  I believe the changes in the publishing world have been to the author’s advantage and allow creativity and information exchange that wouldn’t have been available just a few short years ago.  Doing your homework to make the best decision for you is critical to your success.  If you happen to stumble and fall it’s not final.  It is only a learning process for your future success!

About the Author
Angil Tarach-Ritchey, RN, GCM, has cared and advocated for seniors since her passion was sparked by a box of love letters she found in the nursing home she worked at as a 17-year-old girl in 1977. She is a Registered Nurse, Geriatric Care Manager, National Eldercare Expert, Best-Selling and Award Winning Author of Behind the Old Face: Aging in America and the Coming Elder Boom, Speaker, Consultant, and Educator.

Angil has written nearly 80 articles and been featured and quoted in CNBC, Reuters, CBS, Case in Point Magazine, CareNovate Magazine, McKnight’s Long Term Care News, Consumer Affairs, Women Entrepreneur, Life Goes Strong , Jennings Wire, and many other websites, magazines, newspapers and podcasts across the US and internationally. She has been a guest and repeat guest on several radio shows and the featured guest on Your Money, Your Life TV show. She is a highly respected advocate for the elderly. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your publishing experience. I think you're right -- each person's goals determine how they approach the publication of their books. My co-author and I decided to self-publish our first book (I.O.U. SEX) when the publishers we approached said they weren't interested in a story with older characters. I hope that attitude has changed in the last couple of years, but the decision to self-publish was the right one for us at the time. I have since signed a contract with a traditional publisher for my second book. It will be interesting to see which route I like best.

  2. I think it's very true that every author, and every book, needs to be considered differently. It's why there are so many "hybrid" authors these days. Traditional publishing doesn't welcome new nonfiction writers. Because you're competing with "authors" who are celebrities and political PACs with ghostwriters and deep pockets, it's very hard to even get a read. And a book like yours isn't going to be sold in the regular channels. Its reputation will grow through networking with elder advocacy groups and websites. I think you made the right choice to skip the big 5 houses and find a non-traditional publishing path.

  3. I'm so impressed that when illness took away your ability to do the job you loved, you continued to find a way to reach out and help people. I thank God for people like you.

  4. Angil, you're into a wonderful line of activity - very humanitarian, I'm impressed! And I love the way you describe yourself as an "accidental author"...accidental only in the sense that you needed the written word to carry your message of love and support further, as far as they would go. And it's wonderful that you found support in this self-publishing jungle, congrats!

  5. Such sensible advice... and so interesting to hear about coming to writing from a different world since publishing was turned upside down. Thank you!

  6. Would love to hear from experienced authors and how they chose which publishing route they went and why, or why an author would want to go from self publishing to traditional?

  7. I, too, never thought about writing until I was 59. I was bored because I had taken a time-out of my real estate career when the market tanked in 2008 and wrote a book as a game to see if I could. I put it on a shelf, thinking that's where it would stay. We found out a friend, an-all-her-life-someday-I'll-write kind of woman, had terminal brain cancer. She said her big regret was never finishing her book and seeing her name in print.
    There was no time to even entertain the traditional publishing route; we formed a publishing company and had the book printed with a dedication to Charlotte Bridges within the three months it turned out she had left. Four other (better, because you do get better with practice) books later and with a sixth almost completed, I love writing and publishing.
    Nancy Lynn Jarvis

  8. I thank everyone for taking time to read the article and post your thoughts and experiences! I enjoyed reading them all.
    Sandra, I hope to keep up with you to hear about your experience changing to a traditional publisher.
    Anne, you are absolutely right. I think if I queried enough agents I would've found one to take on my book but I really didn't want to waste time doing that and then waiting for a publisher to accept it. I believe it was the best too!
    Beth, thank you for the compliment but I Thank God for giving me this work and passion because it has blessed me in so many ways! The blessings that have come through chronic illness and everything God is doing in and through me has brought me to a place of gratitude for the illnesses. Probably a future book!
    Claude, thank you for your very nice comments too. I say accidental in a flippant kind of way because I really believe everything happens for a reason and God did put the book and title on my heart in the middle of a funeral, which I describe in the book. It was accidental in the how I perceived live to go since I never thought about being an author. I'm grateful to have actually found I had a talent I didn't know about. I was rather surprised that there were really minimal edits after the editor finished her work.
    Stephanie, thanks! I wonder if my book would have ever been published if the publishing world hadn't changed like it did? I've built a fairly decent platform having written 80 articles as well as being featured and quoted in many that have appeared in so many respected news outlets and websites, but I'm not sure if it would have been big enough to grab the attention of a traditional publisher? Glad I had the options I did.
    Nancy, what a story. I assume you did lose your friend and for that I am sorry. It's great that you recognized the lesson and did get that book off the shelf and published it, not to mention congratulations for all the books since! Your story touched me a bit more personally because I was diagnosed with breast cancer just 5 days ago. Thank God it appears not to have spread and should be totally curable, but we never know the time we have and to let go of the "some day" perspective and recognize that today is the day is a very precious gift.
    I keep a video taped talk from a pastor of our church on my phone that is a perfect depiction of how we spend our days. It was a part of a series called "Losing our butts"! Yes, I am a member of a very contemporary church! If you are interested I can post the link. It's not only a talk but a great visual of our days.
    I have a great cutting edge book preview that I invite you all to check out. It's a free 22 page mini-media eBook (M2eBook) that includes text, photos and video clips of two of the older adults I interviewed and feature in the full book. If you go to the Behind the Old Face page on my website (link above) you can get the link to the M2eBook. As much as readers think this book is just about caring for seniors now, it has extremely important information about our aging future as boomers and a vision of senior living and care that we can look forward to rather than dread if we act now.
    I'd love to hear your opinions on my M2eBook!
    Any suggestions, questions or tips for being a better writer or book marketing for me or if you need help with eldercare questions, comments or resources please contact me. I'll help you however I can.
    I assume you are all on Good Reads? I'd like to connect if you are all open to that?
    Blessings on your day and weekend!